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Old June 1st, 2009, 03:53 PM   #1
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How long to deliver a finished wedding project?

I apologize in advance if this topic has been covered recently, but I spent about 20 minutes searching the archives and could not find if this has been addressed.

How long after the wedding do you finish and deliver your products?

This came up as we were filming a wedding recently. One of the bridesmaids commented that she wished she had known about our firm for her wedding last summer. She was married in summer 2008 and had still not received her wedding video. A year is much, much too tardy in my opinion.

I have two classes of people I work for right now -- "friends" and "customers". I am in my 20s, so I have lots of friends of mine getting married, and I'm happy to give them a little discount, as long as they know I'm doing them a favor and so they don't badger me to deliver their stuff the next week. For my "real" customers, I have a strict pricing and delivery policy that I stick to. However, both classes of people tend to expect the video to be delivered even quicker than the photos, even though obviously our work takes much longer.

With a full-time job leaving very little time for editing, my goal right now is two months after the wedding. But we make a 4-5 minute trailer within a week or so.

How do you deal with impatient brides, and what is your policy on dates for deliverables?
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Old June 1st, 2009, 04:03 PM   #2
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I tell my brides that we shoot for 8-12 weeks for delivery, but that we don't promise a specific 'deliver by' date as we produce custom projects and can't always anticipate the time that will be required. That said, I usually can deliver a video within 3-5 weeks.
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Old June 1st, 2009, 04:14 PM   #3
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WOW!

I don't do weddings, so had no idea you had such long timescales! My clients get impatient after a couple of weeks. Considering that you all ask for money up front too, I think I should dump my clients and start doing weddings. I get no money up front, get real pushes for the product and then if I'm lucky settlement in 30 days.

forgive my ignorance, but if weddings happen each saturday, you then have 6 days before the next one, and assuming you don't want to get behind, then surely a week tops muct be the norm. If you did two weddings on one day, then it could get sticky - is this what extends the timescale? If it is, then when do you catch up?

What makes two months 'quick'?

I'm not trying to be funny - it's just a bit of a shock. Considering how expensive weddings are, I'm not surprised the brides get upset.
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Old June 1st, 2009, 04:15 PM   #4
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I tell them 12 weeks. Usually give it to them within 6 so they get real excited when it is early. I just like to cover myself for when i am really busy.
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Old June 1st, 2009, 04:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
WOW!

I don't do weddings, so had no idea you had such long timescales! My clients get impatient after a couple of weeks. Considering that you all ask for money up front too, I think I should dump my clients and start doing weddings. I get no money up front, get real pushes for the product and then if I'm lucky settlement in 30 days.

forgive my ignorance, but if weddings happen each saturday, you then have 6 days before the next one, and assuming you don't want to get behind, then surely a week tops muct be the norm. If you did two weddings on one day, then it could get sticky - is this what extends the timescale? If it is, then when do you catch up?

What makes two months 'quick'?

I'm not trying to be funny - it's just a bit of a shock. Considering how expensive weddings are, I'm not surprised the brides get upset.
Paul,

I can't speak for everyone, but around here, weddings don't even come anywhere near even paying for the equipment investment, much less for the labor. That means all the videogs around here have full-time jobs in addition to their weekend wedding videography.

So, here's a typical week for me during the busy season, starting on a Saturday...

Saturday morning, get up, get the truck loaded with all the video stuff, pick up my assistant, drive to the wedding, film everything, drive back... a total of about a 12-14 hour day depending on how far away the venue is located.

Sunday, sleep in to recover from Saturday, eat a bite, capture all the tapes from the day before (8-10 hours of footage usually [4 hours from each camera]) which eats up most of the day. I get a little editing in while things capture and a little bit that evening if I'm lucky.

Monday through Friday is all the same: go to work, and after driving home and eating a bite, I might get about 3 hours of editing per night if I'm lucky. But, since wedding video doesn't pay the bills, I generally have at least one gig during the week to film, cutting out at least one night of editing, but probably two nights because I have to edit and deliver the weeknight gig.

So in total, I have about 9-12 hours of actual editing per week. Not nearly enough to edit down 10 hours of tape to an artistic, engaging film. So the next weekend I'm filming another wedding and getting even further behind. I have to wait for the off weekends when I'm not filming to actually get some real work done.

So two months is about as quick as I can do a quality wedding film. If it were up to me, I'd be doing video full-time, but with what brides are willing to pay here locally, there is no chance of that happening any time soon.
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Old June 1st, 2009, 05:01 PM   #6
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typically I tell them 6 to 8 in the beginning of the season and 10 to 12 as the year rolls on. I do more than weddings although some of the corporate type work has gone away hopefully not for too long. Since I average 50+ weddings a year there is no way I could keep the delivery time shorter although I DO generally get them out a bit faster, but I would rather tell them 10 to 12 weeks and deliver in 6 instead of the other way around. That makes for bad reputation and I as I always say 'you can not buy your reputation' no matter what you psend on advertising.
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Old June 1st, 2009, 09:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
forgive my ignorance, but if weddings happen each saturday, you then have 6 days before the next one, and assuming you don't want to get behind, then surely a week tops muct be the norm. If you did two weddings on one day, then it could get sticky - is this what extends the timescale? If it is, then when do you catch up?

What makes two months 'quick'?
You are indeed a bit out of touch with the wedding market, or at least the niche / boutique market. The thing is, a wedding movie / film isn't a cookie cutter product. Each movie is totally different from the previous one. No Production Assistant script package can swap out clips and get you a finished movie just like the last.

Also, I assume you do not work 7 days a week. Should we? No. I try not to work any more than 6 days a week. So I film on a Sat. I rest on Sun. I now have 5 days left for work. Of those five days, which would you want to devote to getting new business and to marketing? 1 day? 0 Days? I have at least 1 day a week that I spend on my web site, on reviewing ad spending, on new ad research, etc. That leaves 4 days. Of those 4 days, how many are spent meeting with new clients, prepping gear for the next shoot? Ok now there are 3 days left to edit. Of those three days, is there anything else you do in your life? Any commercial productions? If so, how many of those three days are devoted to the commercial business and how many to weddings? May be there are now only 2 days a week left for wedding editing. I have a roughly 100hr post production time line before my movies are finished. I've tried slimming that down a bit, but so far, it always seems to be around that mark.

Those not in the wedding film / movie business or those in the mass market wedding video business seldom understand the boutique business and look at it with astonishment and surprise like you just did.
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Old June 1st, 2009, 09:22 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Aaron J. Yates View Post
I can't speak for everyone, but around here, weddings don't even come anywhere near even paying for the equipment investment, much less for the labor. That means all the videogs around here have full-time jobs in addition to their weekend wedding videography.
Actually there are a lot of us that are full time wedding videographers. I am fully self employed. But I started out part time like many others here.
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Old June 1st, 2009, 09:54 PM   #9
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Jason,

I guess my market just hasn't really caught on to wedding video. Around here, when you mention wedding videography, everyone just expects a lame ceremony-only shoot from the balcony with a handy cam. When I show them our work and what all we do for a wedding, they really love it, but they simply won't pay for it. We're the first vendor to get cut when they're making budget decisions. Which is sad, but that's another thread.

The only reason I can't edit the videos faster is the extreme shortage of time. If I could get some brides to pay the $1500 to $2000 for our services every week, I could do this full-time. But any less than that and you can't make a living. So far, about 8 out of 10 brides turn me down based on cost alone, and judging from what I read around here, I'm way on the low end of the price scale.

Congrats on being able to do it full-time... I commend you and hope to be there some day myself.
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Old June 2nd, 2009, 12:59 AM   #10
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Congrats on being able to do it full-time... I commend you and hope to be there some day myself.
Well I didn't say I was profitable or successful (or likely to be in business next year). :-/ I've got a total of 6 weddings this year. And 2/3 book my lowest $1100 package.
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Old June 2nd, 2009, 02:15 AM   #11
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I try to deliver my weddings within 60 days, editing weddings is a creative process, in most cases the longer I take the better the result. Each delivered product has to be uniquely different from the previous. My editing process is very reliant on inspiration and occasionally when I'm over worked I hit a creative ceiling that blocks all progress. I quit my day job about a year ago not because I was making enough money but because I couldn't cope with the hours anymore, working/editing, I love filming and decided my day job would have to go. I am a full-time editor/director/cameraman/gaffer and employ one editor/assistant to help me stick to deadlines. I'm almost in my mid 20's, I make it financially by the skin on my teeth every month however I have dreams that I'll be successful. I have been trying to deliver my wedding within 7 days however it's almost physically impossible, the editing process takes almost a week, rendering takes up to three days sometimes on two Quad core systems with heavy colour grading. A realistic deadline would be three weeks given that you have the hardware and full-time editor to cope, if you work alone 8-14 weeks is very realistic.
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Old June 2nd, 2009, 04:55 AM   #12
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2 weeks max

We are full time, with a delivery time of 2 weeks max. There no excuse why you cant have it that quick. Remember this is a part time job for some. When you work full time you expect a check by the end of the week , why should the bride and groom have to wait. If you are working full time and doing this as a part time job you need to put in more hours, or you need to get an additional editing system. We have three exact editing systems. When we make profit from a wedding we put it back in to our equipment so we can keep the Bride and Groom happy. We are booked solid and have a different business model then most video guys. Our goal is to keep our customers happy , and to get there video to them quickly so they can remember what happen on there special day and tell there friends who still haven't received there videos from the other companies they booked with a year ago.
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Old June 2nd, 2009, 06:10 AM   #13
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Whether you deliver in 2 weeks or 2 months Boutique or Big Box, large market, small market, long form or short form, full time or not... none of this matters. What I mean by that is this; Regardless of the above we all have our own business model and production schedule and as long as our clients KNOW UPFRONT that it will take X weeks to delivery then all of this discussion is moot. I know guys that can pound out a long form wedding in 10-15 hours and do a nice job on it. I personally need a bit more time about 20 to 25 hours. Is mine better? Probably not it just takes me a bit longer. I know guys that can do a short form edit in 40-45 hours. I generally need a bit longer, 50 to 60. Again, not necessairly better it just takes me longer.
I also know guys that do nothiing but editing every minute they can, not me. Never have never will. Especially now as I get older. There is more to life. Now while you young guns can sit there all night and edit after working a full time job, us oldtimers can't, at least I can't plus as I said before I do other work besides weddings but the bottom line is this. If your client knows what to expect as far as expected delivery time and quality of workmanship what difference does it make whether delivery is 2 days or 2 months? BTW, anything over 12 weeks does say to me maybe one needs to re-look at the business model. IMO 3 months is more than enough time no matter what the situation BUT again, everyone is different and there is no set rules about delivery, plus this topic has been talked and argued about before more than once so why don't we just move on.
Can't we all just get along?
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Old June 2nd, 2009, 06:26 AM   #14
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Brides have told me - on the plane back from the honeymoon, all she's thinking about and talking about is her wedding film. Seeing how her dress moved, so much they missed on the day, friends who have gone back to Australia, her mum blubbing in the background.

So to remain top of her chart means having the DVDs on her doormat, awaiting her return. And the direct result of this is that they will adore the film and adore you - they'll sing your praises and gush you off a thank you letter.

Every week that passes with no film increases the little things they'll find fault with. It's a direct proportion thing: the discs arrive two weeks after they return, two things she'd like 'fixed'. 4 weeks and she's getting cross. 8 weeks and they've had a big argument.

Have it waiting for them, that's my mantra.

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Old June 2nd, 2009, 08:46 AM   #15
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I do this part time and position 8-12 week delivery. Getting a quality trailer out within a few days really seems to satisfy my clients and while it might make them more anxious for the final product, they can see that it will be worth the wait.

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